Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 1–7, 2017 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. It’s a time to shine a light on mental illness and replace stigma with hope. Each year NAMI leads the way fighting stigma, providing support, educating the public and advocating for equal care.  Get involved at www.nami.org/miaw.

Mental Health affects 1 in 5

One in five adults experiences a mental illness in any given year. Those problems can contribute to onset of more serious long-term conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Approximately one-half of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14. Unfortunately, long delays—sometimes decades—often occur between the time symptoms first appear and when people get help. In my integrative practice we treat patients/clients with many conditions and symptoms that affect mental health.  Whether you have sustained a stroke, concussion, or brain injury of any kind, suffer from chronic pain /chronic illness, struggle with ADD/ADHD, mental health struggles often accompany these types of conditions. Using Dr. Diane’s 5-Prong approach we aim at treating clients/patients as a “whole”. Each person is seen from the five distinct views that make up our approach: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and energy because these areas intertwine and each needs to be addressed. Recognizing early symptoms of mental illness is critical.  Early identification and treatment can make a big difference for successful management of a condition. For example, major depression is a mood disorder that is more serious than “feeling blue” or temporary sadness. Be alert to any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood (sadness)
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbance of appetite
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide

Bipolar disorder involves cycles of both depression and mania. It is different from normal “ups and downs” that many people experience. It involves dramatic shifts in mood, energy and ability to think clearly. Symptoms are not the same in everyone; some people may experience intense “highs,” while others primarily experience depression. Mania involves combinations of the following symptoms:

  • Euphoria
  • Surges of energy
  • Reduced need for sleep
  • Grandiosity
  • Talkativeness
  • Extreme irritability
  • Agitation
  • Pleasure-seeking
  • Increased risk-taking behavior

Schizophrenia is a different type of mental illness but can include features of mood disorders. It affects a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to other people. Untreated, it also may include psychosis—a loss of contact with reality. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with memory
  • Difficulty in organizing thoughts
  • Lack of content in speech
  • Emotional flatness
  • Inability to start or follow through with activities
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

Other types of mental illness include Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Anxiety disorders, including Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. Mental Illness Awareness Week is a time to learn about them all and get involved. NAMI offers helpful information through its website (www.nami.org) and HelpLine (800-950-NAMI (6264)). With affiliates in hundreds of communities nationwide, NAMI also offers free education classes and support groups. Anyone who experiences symptoms of mental illness should see a doctor to discuss and be checked for possibly related physical conditions. The next step might be referral to mental health specialist. Many treatment options exist. Please take the first step by taking the #StigmaFree Pledge at www.nami.org/stigmafree. Help yourself, your family, your friends and your community. Help make a difference by saving lives and supporting recovery.

CONTACT DR. DIANE®

Dr. Diane® Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.
7 Hodges Street
N. Andover, MA 01845
Phone: (800) 500-9971

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CATALYST FOR CHANGE

Dr. Diane is a catalyst for change

Image Credit Elaine Boucher

Within each person shines an inner light that illuminates our path and is the source of hope. Illness, trauma, suffering and grief can diminish the light and shroud hope. I am a catalyst for hope and change, offering a way to rekindle this inner light.

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